Christmas Gifts – What’s it all About?
We are now entering the time they call the festive season, how do we know that? Well the supermarkets are full of Christmas fayre from decorations to seasonal foods such as cakes mince pies and Brussell sprouts. The isles are suddenly full of gifts to entice us to buy early. Toys, silly hats, large teddy bears dressed in Christmas jumpers smiling down on us to make us feel relaxed and vulnerable to purchasing.
But where did all this Christmas gift phenomena come from? Is it a very clever retail marketing plan to seize an opportunity to increase sales or is there a deeper psychological inbuilt reason why we feel the need to lose all reasonable logic and spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds at this time of the year?
Christians would have it that it has been around for more than 2,000 years ever since the 3 wise men brought baby Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. What a difference those gifts would be today, more like a mobile phone a Nintendo Switch and a cuddly teddy bear with his name embroidered across the chest.
It is, without doubt, the most important time of the year for the entire Christian world and boy have the retail world maxed the opportunity. Starting as early as October they start to work on our emotional conditioning Dangling clever messages and those big pallets stacked high with Celebrations’ and Quality Street sweets at the entrance to get us thinking about Christmas and what presents to buy the kids.
The local Garden Centre with its Christmas scene at the entrance with the animatronic Christmas scene with moving singing reindeer and Santa disappearing down the Chimney with a sack full of games, selection boxes, computer games and those cuddly toys hanging out the top destined for the boys and girls in the house below.
So why do we get sucked into all this hype….. after all it’s just another day. A day just like any other with 24hrs and unknown weather. The only difference being the death of millions of turkeys?
Well, if we didn’t get involved, we’d be called Scrooge and Bah Humbug.
But maybe the reason for getting sucked into the hype is because we need to. It comes after a number of months of poor weather and dark nights. Our psyche has had enough of darkness, freezing weather and grumpy work colleagues all suffering from the lack of vitamin D the sun gives us. We need a reason to feel good, we need something to look forward to because it’s been a hell of a long year and spring is still a long way away.
Maybe there are some real benefits to what we call ‘retail therapy’. Maybe having decisions to make about what gift to buy for auntie Yvonne or nephew Billy gives us a purpose in life at this time of the year. Maybe looking forward to Christmas influences our emotional and psychological wellbeing. We have a target in the diary its x number of weeks away and we need to be prepared.
The alternative is to join the many animals who have decided the best thing to do at this point is to hibernate. I wonder if animals have an alternative to a cuddly toy to snuggle up to for the winter.
As the big day gets closer the radio stations bombard us with the same old Christmas songs as they did last year and the years before that and yet we still sing with as much enthusiasm as we did last year to the chorus of the sixties band Wizzards song
‘Oh, I wish it could be Christmas every day’
Or potentially even more popular Noddy Holder’s Christmas anthem
So here it is…Merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun
So maybe it’s the future that we look forward to at this time, where a year that may have had its ups and downs draws to a conclusion and a new one with all its hopes and new inspiration for us to cling onto approaches.
So, as we hit the new year and get our first credit card statement showing a massive overspend do we reflect on the amount we spent on presents, was worth it? Is little Billy still playing on his computer game, you bet he is! And what about the great deal you got on those personalised teddy bears, has granny got hers in pride of place on the mantelshelf and do the grandchildren use them as comfort blankets at night…… of course, they do.
Whether you see Christmas as a religious celebration or just a need to get you through the winter we all need this ridiculous hype and present giving nonsense to survive.
Although I am not sure many of us would agree with ‘Wizzards’ words
‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’